Ok, so you’re on the hunt for a new house, but you don’t want to go through the process alone. It’s probably a good idea to hire a real estate agent who has all the inside knowledge about the housing market. Here are a few essential things to look for when choosing real estate agents.
- Ask Recent Clients: Ask the real estate company or the agent in question to provide a list of houses they’ve sold in the past year, along with contact information. Before making any phone calls you recent clients, ask the real estate agent if any of their customers were particularly pleased and/or disappointed with how their business was conducted.
- Licensing: Every state has rules and regulations regarding licensed real estate companies. Check your state’s regulatory body to see if a particular agent is licensed appropriately. Real estate websites should also claim if they are licensed and professional. Also check if there have been any disciplinary actions or complaints against the agent or the company in the past few years.
- Check for Awards: Peer-rated awards are a big deal in the real estate business. Awards such as “Realtor of the Year” are a good sign that the company knows its stuff about the housing industry. They will most likely be very honest and reliable when it comes to selling your existing property and finding a new one for you and your family.
- Credentials: Just like doctors and lawyers, real estate agents are specialized and, as a result, need certain credentials. Many agents go through rigorous training, such as additional classes in a certain specialty of real estate sales (luxury homes, for example). Some designations include: CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative), and SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist).
- Time in Business: Find out, either online or by asking, how long the real estate agent and their company has been in business. The more experience, the better — just like anything else. Look for someone who is actively engaged in a certain area of the real estate business and understands price ranges and the buyer’s market.